For Afghan refugees, Turkey is seen either as a bridge to reach Europe or as a country of immigration in which they want to settle and join their friends and relatives. The continuation of war, conflict and poverty in Afghanistan pushes millions of them to seek a life in other countries. The beginning of Afghan immigration towards Turkey goes back to the first half of the 1980s. Turkish authorities initiated the settlement of a few thousand Afghan refugees with ‘Turkish origin and culture’, including Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Hazara origins. Turkey had already signed the Geneva Convention in 1951, but it still preserves the geographical limitation and thus does not give the refugee status to people coming from outside Europe. However, it also implements the 1934 Law on Settlement (İskan Kanunu) and uses the flexibility of this legal framework. According to this law, persons of Turkish ethnic descent and culture can immigrate, settle in Turkey and eventually receive Turkish citizenship. Such initiatives have contributed to the long-term settlement of Afghans in Turkey, and thus Turkey is perceived as a possible immigration country by Afghans. Continue reading The Evolution of Afghan Migration in Istanbul→
Jahara Import-Export business is located in a Beyazit warehouse composed of roughly one hundred businesses, of which around ten are run by, or employ majority of, African workers from Senegal and Gambia. It is owned by Mehmud Kebbeh, a Gambian man who identifies as a migrant and a business-man.
I first met Mehmud as an interlocutor for a separate research project. As a British researcher our initial conversation encompassed discussions of some of his time spent in London and the relationship between our two countries, including the legacies of colonialism, as well as respective feelings about our “foreigner” status in Turkey. I spoke to him further to understand more about the warehouse as a space of transit, of multiple criss-crossing identities across nationality, class, gender, religion. Our conversation indicated multiple ways in which he navigates the overlaps between his business, religious and national identities; the importance of his import-export space as a social setting where migrants shed restrictive identifiers and share commonalities; and the multiple areas of hierarchy, exchange and isolation within the Gambian and Senegalese communities.Continue reading Navigating complexity and contradiction: an interview with a Gambian businessman in Istanbul→
Via Birgün (link in Turkish) – The EU who said to give 3 billion Euro to Turkey in the frame of the EU-Turkey day for refugees, has recently paid its 2.9 billion. 1.6 billion Euro of this amount were allocated for education, health, municipality infrastructure, socioeconomic programs and migration governance. 300 million Euro were given to the Ministry of National Education and another 300 million Euro of its was given to Ministry of Health. UNICEF claims that although a large amount of money was allocated for education, 390 billion school-age refugees are still not provided with educational opportunities. 2
Via Hurriyet (Link in Turkish) – Istanbul Fatih Municipality sent a notice to the restaurants in Fatih-Yusufpaşa in 2016, noting that only Latin alphabets could be used in the signs. Mohamed Nizar Bitar, owner of a fast-food restaurant who does not want to change his Arabic writing label, has started a legal process against the municipality.
PS:EUROPE Institute, with the cooperation of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Turkey, has published its latest research report on the perception of asylum-seekers, immigrants and refugees in Turkey and the reasons behind it. Click here to proceed to the report
Via cidpnsi –The devastating scale of the humanitarian crisis in Syria has internally displaced more than six million people and forced five million more to flee across the border into neighbouring countries. The experiences of these refugees have often been reduced to a single narrative where newcomers are seen as burdens on their host communities. However, a closer look at the capabilities and contributions of Syrian-owned SMEs operating in Turkey reveals ‘another side to the story’. Continue reading Building Markets Report Highlights ‘Another Side to the Story’ on Syrian SMEs in Turkey→